"Sed fortuna, quae plurimum potest cum in reliquis rebus tum praecipue in bello, parvis momentis magnas rerum commutationes efficit; ut tum accidit."

C. Iulius Caesar - Commentarii de Bello Civili Bk III.68

Thursday, February 10, 2005

City of fables unearths real heroes

By Jeremy Laurence
COLCHESTER (Reuters) - It is the home of Humpty Dumpty, Old King Cole and Camelot -- or so legend has it.

But archaeologists raking over the past can now go one better for the city of Colchester.

After painstaking excavation work they have proof of real heroes from the ancient world. Last month they revealed the remains of a Roman Circus, or chariot racing track.

In the past 30 years archaeologists in the city have unearthed evidence dating back to Roman rule over 2,000 years ago, rewriting British history along the way. The circus underlines the city's importance as a provincial Roman outpost.

In its heyday the track would have made an awesome sight with a straight measuring about 350 metres and stands for some 8,000 people, more than the population of the town itself.

Formerly Colonia Victricensis, meaning "City of the Victorious", Colchester is Britain's oldest recorded town and its first capital.